Don’t Forget About Us!

April 15, 2012

We’ve been busy this Spring and do not want you to forget about us!  We are still working hard to meet all of your home inspection needs this season.  Having mold issues?  Wonder if your home’s foundation is sturdy enough to last the next several years?  Afraid you and your family are suffering from radon inhalation?  CALL LHI!  We are here to help you and your home!

Check out tips on your next home inspection below!

Image

When buying or selling a home, it is important to know what you are dealing with.  Home inspections can offer homeowners and buyers the chance to get more for their money.  Is the house in good condition?  Will it need a lot of work in one area within the upcoming years?  What damage has been done and has it been repaired properly?

Home inspectors can easily answer each of these questions and can refer you to other resources needed for a successful inspection.

What is checked during a home inspection?

During a general home inspection, the overall house is checked for damages.  Here at Lewis Home Inspection, the following aspects of every home is inspected:

  • Structure
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Water Heat Equipment
  • Heating
  • Air Conditioning
  • Exterior
  • Roof
  • Interior
  • Garage

Inspectors can also be licensed to do more advanced services.  Radon testing and termite inspections are just two other assessments that can be conducted.  Others include:

  • Mold Inspection
  • Infrared (IR) Scanning Service
  • Septic System Testing
  • Septic System Maintenance Review

Who should inspect my home?

Quite often, the real estate agent that you use to buy or sell your home has a list of inspection companies that they have worked with previously and who they trust.  Agents often want the best for their buy or seller and will work to find a trusted inspection company that will fully disclose information to the client.  If a home inspector finds a problem that they themselves are not certified to handle, they will direct the home buyer/seller to the correct company.  Trust that your agent will direct you to a trusted home inspection company.

When should I get an inspection?

The best time to get a home inspection is when you are interested in buying or selling your home.  Prior to putting your home on the market, have an inspector look for anything that may affect the selling price of your home.  If there is anything wrong with your home, you can have it fixed prior to selling, allowing you to increase the selling price and value of your home.

Before buying a home, you will also want to have it inspected.  After placing an offer on a house, have it inspected to look for any damages that may allow you to negotiate a better price for the home.  You may also find that your dream home is not what you expected.  Have your agent put this in the contract of your new home, making your purchase obligation is based on the findings of the inspection.

Trust your agent and your home inspector and you will be able to save money in the long run when it comes to buying or selling your home this year.

Read up a little more on our services on our website: lhinspection.com.

 

Lead is a well-known metal that has been used for years in piping inside in the home.  However, in 1987, New Jersey banned the use of lead due to its harmful effects.  Nevertheless, N.J. homes that have been built 50 or more years ago may still contain piping and paint that contains lead that can be seeping into the water we drink.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, up to 20-percent of the lead that we are exposed to comes from our drinking water.

Image

Lead can affect the brain, kidneys, nervous system and red blood cells.  Young children and pregnant women are at the greatest risks when it comes to the lead in our drinking water.

The factors that may affect the amount of lead that can get into your water include:

  • Type of plumbing materials.  The amount of lead used in soldering joints within the pipes can be up to 50-percent.
  • Length of time the water stands in the pipes.  Water that is in the pipes for a certain amount of time may allow lead more time to seep into the water.
  • Corrosive water.  Corrosive water may be caused by high acidity and low mineral content and it can increase the amount of lead in the water.
  • Grounding of electrical wires to water pipes.  This can cause a higher rate of corrosion.

The best way to tell if your drinking water is contaminated with lead is to have it tested by a local company and have the test results reviewed by New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.  After receiving the results of the tests, you may also want to have your family checked for lead poisoning by your family physician.

In order to ensure that you are doing everything you can to reduce the amount of lead you may be consuming through your tap water, follow these tips.

1. Let your water run for 15-20 seconds if it has not been used for several hours to flush out the lead that may be in the water that has been sitting in the pipes.

2. Do not drink, cook or prepare food with hot tap water.  Lead is often highest in hot water.

3. Avoid boiling water excessively.  The boiling of water can increase the level of lead in the water.

If you live in a home that may have piping that was installed prior to the 1987 N.J statute preventing the use of lead-based building materials, it is important to get your water tested.  Contact a local company that can check your water for levels of lead and other contaminants.  Also, reach out to the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services in order get more information about lead in your tap water.

Don’t let lead be the cause of your family’s health problems.  Do something about your drinking water before it is too late.

Resources:

http://www.state.nj.us/health/eoh/hhazweb/lead.pdf

http://water.epa.gov/drink/local/nj.cfm

http://www.nj.gov/dep/watersupply/njdwqinstitute.htm

Radon may not be a commonly known health concern in one’s home.  Mold, asbestos and even pesticides may be associated with illnesses.  However, radon is the naturally occurring, invisible gas that can affect your health more than you may realize.

What is Radon? And where is it in my home?

 Radon is an odorless, invisible gas that is formed from deposits of uranium within soil, rock and water.  Radon can easily be found in mines, building materials, and water extracted from wells.

In your home, radon is most likely to be found in basements and ground floor rooms that may be in contact with soil.  Radon can enter your house through:

  • Cracks in concrete slabs or blocks
  • Floor/wall joints
  • Exposed soil, as in a sump
  • Loose fitting pipes
  • Building materials
  • Water

What are the health risks caused by radon?

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S.  If small particles infected with radon are inhaled, they can become lodged in mucus membranes within the lungs.  The particles infected with radon that enter the lungs will then radiate and penetrate the cells which can then begin the process of carcinogenesis (the creation of cancer).

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 15 percent of lung cancers worldwide are caused by radon.  Those who smoke are three times more likely to develop lung cancer if exposed to radon in comparison to non-smokers (based on a 0.4 pCi/L).

WHO has been in the in the process of spreading awareness of this silent killer since 2005.  Counties working with WHO on the International Radon Project (IRP) are working on developing public health guidance within the countries in order to formulate a policy and a strategy based on radon levels.  The IRP is also working on methods for measurements and the mitigation of radon, and the development of better communication about radon.

How can I prevent radon from affecting my health?

The U.S. Surgeon General and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highly recommend that all homes be tested for radon.  The EPA collected data regarding radon within U.S. homes.  The survey found that approximately six million homes suffer from elevated radon levels that can affect one’s health.

Getting your home tested for radon can be a simple process.  Do-it-yourself test kits can be purchased at your local Home Depot.  Try the Pro Lab Radon Test Kit for just $9.98.  At home kits can be a great way to check for radon within your home. However, if you suspect that you may be exposed to elevated levels of radon, it is important to find an EPA-qualified company, such a Lewis Home Inspection, to conduct an in-depth test for radon in your home.

There are various types of radon tests that can be done in your home.  Radon levels can vary from day-to-day and season-to-season, so be sure to try different tests at different times of the year to check for radon in your home.  Radon test devices include charcoal canisters, alpha track detectors, liquid scintillation detectors, electrets ion chambers, and continuous monitors.

Do you have radon in your home?  You may not even know if this silent killer is around your family so be sure to test your home before it is too late.  Radon can affect your health, so stop it before it stops you.

Resources:

http://www.epa.gov/radon/healthrisks.html

http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/physic.html#WhatIs

http://www.who.int/ionizing_radiation/env/radon/en/

http://www.lhinspection.com/Radon_Testing_Services.aspx

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-100141467/h_d2/ProductDisplay?storeId=10051&keyword=radon+test+kits&jspStoreDir=hdus&Nu=P_PARENT_ID&navFlow=3&catalogId=10053&langId=-1&ddkey=Search

Infrared is one of the newest up and coming types of light used to detect heat within objects.  Experts use infrared light across various fields of study, such as health, science, art and entertainment.  But what is it really and how does it work?

Image

The Basics. 

 Infrared is light that is a part of the color spectrum.  Its wavelengths are longer than those of the visible light colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.  Because of this, infrared is below red on the color spectrum, which correlates to its name – ‘infra’ which means ‘below’ and red, creating infrared.

 Infrared is energy that is invisible to the human eye.  The International Commission on Illumination divided infrared into three different sections based on wavelengths.  Near, medium and far infrared, near being closest to red on the spectrum and the closest to the visible eye; far is the farthest from red and closer to the longer wavelengths of microwaves.

 Uses.

 In order for infrared energy to be seen by the human eye as an image, a process called thermal imaging is used.  A special camera is used to detect the temperature of an object with red being the warmest area and violet being the coolest.

 Thermal imaging is used by the military, by health professionals and in night vision equipment.  And recently it has become a way to measure moisture, insulation, and electrical and structural issues within home inspections.

Image

 Infrared in the Home.

 Lewis Home Inspection is now a Certified Infrared (IR) Scanning Service.  Companies such as LHI can use infrared devices to help with home inspections.  Equipment such as an infrared camera (thermal imaging), a moisture meter, and gas detector can be used to inspect the following aspects of a home:

  • Water intrusion
  • Insulation
  • Roofing leaks
  • Electrical systems
  • Structural issues

 

Infrared can detect excess moisture, such as mold, from roof leaks, plumbing problems and simple window leaks.  The thermal imaging camera can sense where insulation within walls and ceilings due to the temperature of the area, and will tell when there is insulation missing.  The overheating of electrical problems will also register on the IR camera which allows for easy detection.  Structural issues are not necessarily as prominently seen as other aspects of home inspections, yet missing or broken structures may be detected.

Infrared is one of the newest technologies that can be used to inspect homes.  Find a company, like Lewis Home Inspection, that is certified to work with infrared technology for a more advanced inspection of your home this year.

Resources:

http://www.ehow.com/how-does_5162025_thermal-imaging-works.html

http://www.wisegeek.com/how-does-infrared-work.htm

http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/high-tech-gadgets/nightvision1.htm

http://www.lhinspection.com/Infrared_Scanning_Services.aspx

Happy New Year!

January 6, 2012

It is 2012, which means it is a brand new year and a better time than ever to remember Lewis Home Inspection when looking for a company to do your next home inspection.

The new year may mean a new home for you and your family.  Do you know what to look for when buying a new house?  Let LHI help in detecting for everything from mold to radon.  With LHI’s newest infrared technology, your home will be inspected from the inside-out. 

As a reminder, LHI is here to make your home inspection appointment as convenient as possible.  Check out our easy online form to set up your next inspection.  And when you schedule an appointment with LHI online, you will also receive a $25 discount.  With a deal like that, what’s stopping you?

LHI is here to help you with your new home during this new year.  Start 2012 off right with a successful home inspection.

From LHI to you and your family, Happy New Year!

Check out our newsletters.

December 13, 2011

If you like to read our blog, be sure to read our quarterly newsletters!

Summer 2011 – http://www.lhianalytical.com/newsletter/summer2011/

Fall 2011 – http://www.lhianalytical.com/newsletter/Fall2011/

Keep an eye out for our Winter 2011 issue, coming soon!

Image

Seller Disclosure is the responsibility of the seller to reveal problems with the property to any potential buyers. It is also the seller’s duty to disclose problems to the buyer that the seller should have known about. A statement must be created and signed by the seller addressing each problem.

Seller Disclosure is only required in certain states, and New Jersey is not yet one of them. This policy is easily spreading across many states because seller disclosure reduces liability. This is because if a seller tells potential buyers about all problems in the home, the buyers cannot deny they were told the information later. When a seller discloses the problems upfront, the buyer cannot file a consumer fraud suit which can be very costly to the seller. It is very beneficial to the seller to reduce the liability of the house so they can sell quickly and efficiently while also selling the house for the best possible price.

Image

In addition, this brings to attention the importance of a professional home inspection.  A professional home inspector can recognize problems and provide affordable solutions to the seller. The inspector produces a home inspection report with a list of all the issues found in the home. It is always less expensive to handle a problem when it is addressed rather than waiting or hiding the information. If a seller chooses to wait and the buyer finds out about a problem, they may ask for most accredited repairs. It becomes very expensive for the seller when the buyer asks for the top-of-the-line appliances and repairs.

Benefits

A pre-inspection home is a service in which a home is inspected prior to listing. This ensures that all repairs are paid for before the buyer purchases the home. This service has many benefits including economic repairs, higher selling prices, and a faster selling process. A pre-inspected home has advantages for the buyer, real estate agent, and seller making for a better sale all around!

When an inspector inspects the home before listing, all economic repairs can be found and attended do in an efficient way. The seller has time to shop around for the best prices and services for the repair. Normally a buyer may ask for nearly twice the repair cost in a credit and the seller obeys to guarantee the sale. This can prevent objections over repairs during the negotiation process. Real estate agents don’t have to worry about the deal falling apart after the contract has been signed. Having the repairs paid for in advance is ideal and makes the house seem more appealing for potential buyers. The home inspector can make suggestions to the seller to permit the house to be more attractive. In addition, if the seller decides not to handle the repairs they can display the repairs in a disclosed document.

Although this service may appear to be a hassle for the seller, it can prove to be worth every penny when the selling process is quick and proficient. The seller can choose to use an ASHI inspector at a time convenient to them instead of being forced to use the buyer’s choice of an inspector. The seller can also correct any misstatements in the report before any buyers have the opportunity to view it.  During a pre-inspection, the number of buyers can potentially increase which in turn can increase the selling price. It can give the seller the highest price in the shortest amount of time. Having an inspection report from a certified inspector will help the seller determine a realistic sale price. In this economy with growing competition it is practically essential for seller’s to have their house stand out among others.

In addition to benefiting a seller, a pre-inspection helps the buyers by increasing their confidence. First, the inspection is completed so the buyer does not have to search for a good inspection, schedule, attend, or pay for an inspection. If a buyer sees a property with a clean report they will be more likely to pursue the deal and move ahead. The buyer can feel assured that there will not be any surprises in the deal. When a buyer sees that all repairs are handled prior to listing, they can feel more comfortable in spending the asking price of the property. A pre-inspection property eliminates the excess costs and hassle included in an inspection completed after the listing.

Pre-surveyed homes is a real estate marketing company provide a property prospectus which is uploaded to your listing page. In the prospectus all positive attributes are highlighted. Photos are provided for all of the property upgrades. The company offers a home warranty coverage which adds to the buyer’s confidence. It is suggested that you combine this service with a virtual tour to provide every buyer the ultimate property description and visual enhancements to help you market your home.

What is mold?

December 5, 2011

Molds (and mildew) are fungi. Fungi are neither plant nor animal but have their own kingdom.  There are over 100,000 species of fungi have been described and it is estimated that there are at least that many waiting to be discovered. The vast majority of fungi feed on dead or decaying organic matter – they are one of the principle agents responsible for the natural recycling of dead plant and animal life.

The most common fungi are currently within our environment and we are constantly exposed to them. For the most part, however, diseases caused by these common fungi are relatively uncommon and are rarely found in individuals with normally functioning immune systems. Over the past few years mold has experienced high profile press coverage. There are many reports concerning lawsuits over air quality in homes and buildings, school classroom environments and home insurers refusing to cover mold damage.

Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper and carpet. The key to mold control is moisture control. It is important to dry water-damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. If mold is a problem in your home, clean up the mold and get rid of the excess water or moisture. Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water. Wash mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely. Absorbent materials (such as ceiling tiles and carpet) that become moldy may have to be replaced.

http://www.lhianalytical.com/newsletter/spring2011/

                                            ASHI or the American Society of Home Inspectors is an organization of about 6,000 members and over 80 chapters. The ASHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics serves as a guideline for home inspectors to follow. These home inspectors are well respected, highly accredited professional in North America and are recognized universally. The website, www.ashi.org, was created in 1976 with a mission to “to meet the needs of its membership and promote excellence and exemplary practice within the profession” (ASHI Par 2). As a not-for-profit organization, ASHI establishes high standards for the home inspectors and is a gateway for consumers to access useful information.
The ASHI website, www.ashi.org, is a resource for consumers, home inspectors, real estate agents and the media to get information and advice on home inspections. The home inspectors that qualify and meet the standards of ASHI are recognized. The inspectors make a commitment to follow the ASHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. Consumers and real estate professions can find a home inspector easily by typing in the property address. Immediately a list of the closest ASHI home inspectors appears with their company information. This tool makes a home sale easier and gives the seller a sense of protection from their home inspection.
It is vital to select a highly skilled and greatly educated home inspector. Do not let cost be a factor when selecting your home. The knowledge the buyer will gain and the sense of security preceding the inspection is well worth the cost. These ASHI inspectors have high levels of qualifications and experience along with training and fulfillment with state regulations that place these individuals on the top of the spectrum. ASHI has worked to build consumer consciousness of home inspectors and improve the professionalism and reputation of its association.